Fun and games can go a long way to help re-engage students
Fun in education is a serious business. Students who become bored, disengaged, or dispirited simply stop learning – and it can be hard to bring them back on board. But it’s possible to break down resistance and catch their attention with an educational game or other fun device.
Fun in learning helps teacher and student get away from the grind of the syllabus for a time, while still getting the student to think and to learn to love learning again. And for a student who is dispirited and feeling like a failure, fun success is still a positive experience, and with even small successes comes a motivation to do better.
A game shouldn’t be too difficult, but at the same time it should be challenging enough to allow the teacher to guide a student through success and offer praise, which can begin to re- build their self-confidence.
Gamifying learning can help overcome the feeling that something can’t be achieved. A student may be struggling with Maths, but a numbers game can re-engage and motivate them – and it also builds persistence. Typically, when faced with a difficult Maths problem, students can easily give up, but they won’t stop in the middle of a game – even a Maths game!
Games also help build the relationship between teacher and student. A “Beat the Teacher” game allows a safe opportunity for the student to win a victory against the teacher who is then humanised in their eyes – outside the classroom, students don’t play games with people they don’t like.
Games and fun activities are not just a distraction. They offer the opportunity to learn new skills and build self-esteem. They play an important role in learning by stimulating the mind and often unlocking hidden talents, and most importantly they help to build relationships.